ICYMI: As Shaky as a Fiddler on the Roof

Jewish Spiritual Tools for a Time of Challenge

On April 12, 2020, Rabbi Eric Gurvis led us on a study of Musar in the midst of COVID-19. In case you missed it, or if you want to go back for deeper study and reflection here are all the tools you need.


Our thanks to the Jewish Federation of the Berkshires for underwriting this online opportunity to gather and learn.

Here is the PowerPoint presentation from yesterday.

For Further Study, Online & IRL

  1. The Mussar Institute

  2. Institute for Jewish Spirituality

  3. Hebrew College Open Circle Jewish Learning

  4. The Making of a Mensch

  5. Email Rabbi Eric Gurvis

  6. Email Rabbi Neil Hirsch

About Today’s Webinar

We are now sharing an unprecedented new chapter in our lives – trying to maintain our balance as our lives and the world around us challenge almost every bit of normal life we know. Each day will change our reality, and we will feel tested. Along the way, it’s easy to lose sight of our core values as we balance stress, frustration and a host of other powerful emotions in our new reality.

The Jewish practice of Mussar, and the teachings of the Mussar tradition can offer us a framework in which to take the steps we will be taking in this time of uncertainty. This session will provide a brief introduction to Mussar, and will focus on some of the concepts of this spiritual path: anavah (humility), hakarat ha-tov (recognizing the good), and menuchat haNefesh (equanimity).

These tools form our spiritual heritage can help us focus on how to best approach the uncertainty of the days ahead as we spend intense time in close proximity to those nearest and dearest to us, and at the same time try to sustain and nurture our relationships with those with whom we can only interact through technology and at a distance. Together we will explore how we can find and sustain our balance in a time when all of our lives are “as shaky as a Fiddler on the Roof.”

About Rabbi Gurvis

Rabbi Eric Gurvis is a graduate of SUNY-Albany, with a BA in Sociology and Judaic Studies, and was ordained at the Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion in New York. Eric has served congregations in New York City; Jackson, Mississippi; Teaneck, New Jersey; Newton, Massachusetts; and is currently rabbi of Sha’arei Shalom in Ashland, MA.

In addition to his congregational work, Eric works with The Mussar Institute as Director of Chaverim and Community Engagement. He facilitates Mussar groups throughout the greater Boston area as well as in Western Massachusetts. He is a member of the faculty for The Mussar Institute, and the program. Eric is a Senior Rabbinic Fellow of the Shalom Hartman Institute in Jerusalem, and has trained with The Mussar Institute as a Mussar Va’ad leader. Eric lives in the Greater Boston area with his wife, Laura Kizner Gurvis. Eric and Laura have four children, and two young grandsons in whom they take great delight.

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